The President's Desk: Andrés Spokoiny

Andrés Spokoiny is President & CEO of Jewish Funders Network. Full bio >>

Tikkun Olam: A Defense and a Critique

Lately there seems to be a concerted attack on the idea of Tikkun Olam. Critics say Tikkun Olam is not a Jewish idea, but merely liberal politics masquerading as Jewish values.

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“Together, Tribes of Israel?" Zionism and Jewish Peoplehood

A two-part essay for The Peoplehood Papers, volume 22 – “Israel@70: A Peoplehood Perspective” 

Part 1How Zionism challenges the Jewish peoplehood that created it

Part 2Building a new relationship for Zionism and Jewish peoplehood

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Rivers, Rain, and Morality (Sukkot 5779)

Is there a relationship between Israel’s dependence on rain and the traits and values we developed as a people?

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Apes and Angels (Rosh Hashanah 5779)

We’re still in the Stone Age. Or rather, our minds are.                                 

I’m not kidding. The human brain has evolved very little since we were hunter-gatherers in the African savanna and it still uses the same adaptive behaviors that we learned escaping from lions and looking for edible berries.  

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Independent Funders and Federations: Bound Together and Bound to Change

In eJewish Philanthropy.

[This essay is part of a series from leaders in the field of Jewish philanthropy, who will offer reactions and analyses to Jack Wertheimer’s report, Giving Jewish: How Big Funders Have Transformed American Jewish Philanthropy, commissioned and released earlier this year by The AVI CHAI Foundation.]

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Third Time’s a Charm? Tisha Be'Av 5778

Whenever the Jews have had sovereignty in their land, they have messed up and lost it.

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Stop Stopping

“Each generation doubtless feels called upon to reform the world. Mine knows that it will not reform it, but its task is perhaps even greater. It consists in preventing the world from destroying itself. Heir to a corrupt history, in which are mingled fallen revolutions, technology gone mad, dead gods, and worn-out ideologies, where mediocre powers can destroy all yet no longer know how to convince, where intelligence has debased itself to become the servant of hatred and oppression.”

— Albert Camus, Nobel Prize acceptance speech, 1957

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Law and Love (Shavuot 5778)

Have you ever heard the phrase “the God of the Old Testament”? It’s generally used to distinguish between the supposedly angry, vengeful, and severe God of the Hebrew Bible and the “Loving Heavenly Father” of the New Testament.

Even though many Christian theologians have denounced this false contrast (after all, they say, God can’t change his substance), it persists in the Western mind. It’s linked to one of the biggest misconceptions in the history of religion: the notion that Judaism is the “religion of law” while Christianity is the “religion of love”.

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After the Siren: Yom Hazikaron and Gratitude

Israel has two major memorial days: Yom Hazikaron—the remembrance day for fallen soldiers of Israel and Israeli terror victims—and Yom Hashoah Vehagevurah, Holocaust and Heroism memorial day. One is a reminder of the cost of having a Jewish State; the other is a reminder of the cost of not having it.

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Why is This Freedom Different from All Other Freedoms?

There few things more delightful that getting into an argument with your teenage child about the meaning of “freedom”. No, my dear son, it doesn’t mean the absence of a curfew or being free to do your homework at the last second. No, my beloved daughter, it’s definitely not the freedom to stay out that late at a party.

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